Parenting without rules – figuring out my parenting style

I know I’m not the only person who thought they were sure what kind of parent they’d be when their bump became a real live human.

I read a lot about Parenting during the first few brutal months of having a new born. I’m not going to sugar coat it because that wouldn’t be the truth but after a traumatic early birth, pre-eclampsia and hypertension and undiagnosed reflux we didn’t have the smoothest start so I turned to reading lots about how to parent, how to raise a well behaved baby and how to ensure they were learning and experiencing everything they needed to at each stage of their development.

It gave me a lot of confidence to read about when to approach ‘sleep training’ (advice I chucked out of the window as it didn’t work for us), how to crack baby led weaning and how to encourage your baby’s fine motor skills. That is until I realised that babies, well certainly my baby, didn’t follow all of the books.

We missed most of the milestones for the 1 year health visitor check, as I knew we we would. He wasn’t crawling or standing and definitely not walking. He couldn’t cruise nor did he hand over toys when he was asked – something he’s still not keen on doing now..

When the Health Visitor said she’d come back to visit us in 8 weeks it just left me feeling awful. I panicked why he wasn’t following the trend or the rules and Googled the crap out of delayed development and how to encourage your baby which ended up leaving both of us frustrated.

In our case we were grateful that there wasn’t a diagnosed reason for his delays but he was just doing things in his own time and I needed to stop comparing him to everyone else.

All my reading didn’t help his behaviour. He loves to eat and chat (all day every day, if hes not eating then he is talking) but the times we parked his pram in a cafe he would cry inconsolably until he could sit up at the table with us. If he was taken somewhere, IKEA for example, it wasn’t enough to just be pushed around in the pram (we’d get the pencil move where they can slide out the bottom!), he wanted to touch things up close and see how they worked.

It was my Mum who reminded me that I’d been in a panic months before because he’d seemed so distant and uninterested in things around him but now my excitable, happy, sassy little babe was tearing around the fake Swedish kitchen trying to work out how the secret cupboards opened.

I find the psychology of children really interesting and love to read about how people parent and the different ways they’re encouraging their children to develop and I think I’ve ended up taking a bit of lots of different styles and then making it up in between, and I’m cool with that.

He’s confident, inquisitive, stubborn and a joker and by trying to stop him from exploring and communicating and joining in with the world around him I feel like I’m going against his natural desire to learn, in his way. Each day I feel like I’m understanding him a bit better and although we don’t tolerate innapropriate or dangerous behaviour I know he’s a baby still and almost every time it’s because he doesn’t understand and occasionally it’s because he genuinely believes he can get a laugh out of anyone.

He just doesn’t have the concentration or the desire to sit and read books with me anymore, there’s too much to see around him and I have to get over it. He’ll play in the mud and put leaves in his mouth and constantly want to chat to whoever is (un)lucky to sit next to us in a cafe now and I have to put aside my worries of what other people might think and remind myself that this is him. He’s a hurricane but he’s learning new things every time we go out and do something.

It’s come as a little bit of a surprise to me how we’ve approached discipline, but I’m using that word lightly as I don’t really believe you can truly discipline a child at his age (17 months) because they just don’t understand social decency and can’t understand why we think their behaviour is wrong.

I’ve said to family and friends that we don’t shout at K. It’s not because we’re being all hands off or because we think he doesn’t need to learn how to behave but it just doesn’t sit right with us and im not even sure i can totally explain why. He’s a happy and confident baby and most of the time we can either show him how to do something or distract him from something he shouldn’t be doing but raised voices, even if its not ours and we’ve just overheard someone else really affects him. He goes very quiet and pulls a face like he doesn’t understand what’s happening and my instincts are telling me that’s not the right way to go with him, not yet anyway.

He understands more and more each day which is why until I know I can explain it I want to approach things in a different way.

Not everyone has agreed with this which again, I’m cool with, because we all parent differently and i respect that. We may have had a totally different approach with another child and things may totally change when he hits the 2’s (which I’m going to try and find the ‘not so terrible’ in) and so will how we parent probably.

I suppose that I see know that parenting is just as much about us as parents as it is about our babies and it’s amazing that there’s so much available to learn about what to do and how we can approach every stage. I don’t think I fit into any parenting style box and despite my no shouting rule we still feed him Pom Bears occasionally and he has a penchant for the stop, drop and roll if everything has got a bit too much but we are just powering through like everyone else is.

If I think back to naive, glassy eyed pregnant me i have to smile because we may not have cracked baby yoga like I thought we would but my baby can now play air guitar like a pro so I’ll take that win!

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